Beside Between Beyond
I was born in India and emigrated to the US in 1998. I remember not having a work permit or financial independence for the first couple of years after I arrived here. When the pandemic hit, I thought of individuals experiencing domestic violence within immigrant and refugee homes, so I decided to use my artistic skills to increase awareness. “Beside Between Beyond” is a multipart artistic journey of learning and documentation.
As a part of the South Asian immigrant community, I have noticed the lack of resources for vulnerable women within immigrant and refugee communities. The COVID-19 pandemic compounded the vulnerability of these individuals who were already geographically isolated and bound within a culture that does not accept broken marriages.
Weight of Shadows
When I began working on “Beside Between Beyond,” I started to collect donated bangles, a cultural symbol of womanhood and fertility in South Asian culture. Through this process, I engaged with community members through dialogue about creating a safe space for all of us - a space where domestic violence victims and survivors can tell their stories without the fear of judgment.
Try to Get Closer
Throughout “Beside Between Beyond,” I created intricate paper cuts sandwiched between plexiglass frames, each using visa and refugee applications as base material to highlight immigrant survivors. The cutting and removal of these visa papers is a very violent act, but through this act of destruction I have discovered the transformative idea of creation.
This Time It Will Be Different
“This Time It Will Be Different" is a suspended sculpture that explores our understanding of the concept of time. I was inspired by three facets of time: physiological time, philosophical time, and cosmological time. “This Time” features nine arrow forms composed of painted hand-cut Tyvek paper suspended by fishing wire. The arrows move in and out of focus as viewers walk by. I wanted to define a sculptural form that resonated with both a structured and a chaotic sensibility.
In 2021, I read the statement of an individual going through domestic violence. She mentioned that she was not able to talk to her community for fear of becoming an object of gossip. This statement made me think about how to use awareness and art as a catalyst to bring about societal change.
Edge of Ignorance
I was fortunate to have a supportive spouse to help navigate these difficult times. This got me thinking about vulnerable people who are put into these circumstances with an abusive partner, which motivated me to research support systems to assist these individuals. In 2020, I started the process of collecting and collating data about domestic violence, which would eventually be transformed into visual art through intricate paper cuts, found object installations, and interactive technology.